American Student Wins 2015 International Stockholm Junior Water Prize

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Perry Alagappan from Houston, Texas, has won the 2015 Stockholm Junior Water Prize — a prestigious international competition for water-related research. The Prize Patron, H.R.H. Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, presented him with the award at an Aug. 25th ceremony during World Water Week in Stockholm. 

According to the official announcement from the Stockholm International Water Institute, rapid advances in technology have resulted in a significant increase of electronic waste in water, which contains highly toxic heavy metals such as mercury, cadmium and lead. Alagappan’s project, “Novel Renewable Filter for Heavy Metal Removal: A Practical Application of Functionalized Multi-Walled Carbon Nanotubes” introduces a first-of-its-kind filter that removes more than 99 percent of these contaminants from drinking and industrial wastewater.

In the official citation, the jury states the project “addresses a critical water issue with broad implications for the whole world,” and “the technology used in the project could revolutionize the way water can be treated and heavy metals recovered.”

For his groundbreaking invention, Alagappan received a crystal sculpture and $15,000. A Diploma of Excellence was also awarded to students Katherine Araya and Katya Urqueta from Chile, for improving water use efficiency in agriculture. 

Administered by SIWI, the international SJWP competition brings together the world’s brightest young scientists to encourage their continued interest in water and the environment. Thousands of participants in countries all over the globe participated in national competitions for the chance to represent their nation at the international final held during the World Water Week in Stockholm. Winning teams from 29 countries competed in last week’s competition.

In the United States, the Water Environment Federation and its member associations organize the national, state and regional SJWP competitions with support from Xylem Inc., who also sponsors the international competition and the $1,000 Bjorn von Euler Innovation in Water Scholarship Award. 

Click here for complete details from SIWI on the international competition. Visit to learn more about the U.S. SJWP.

About WEF
WEF is a not-for-profit technical and educational organization of 36,000 individual members and 75 affiliated member associations representing water quality professionals around the world. Since 1928, WEF and its members have protected public health and the environment. As a global water sector leader, our mission is to connect water professionals; enrich the expertise of water professionals; increase the awareness of the impact and value of water; and provide a platform for water sector innovation. 


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